PLIG Presents: A Day in the Life…

‘A Day in the Life’ is a feature by BCLA’s Public Libraries Interest Group. The aim is to highlight interesting folks from around the province who are doing amazing things in public libraries. If you, or someone you know, would make a good profile, please email Heidi Schiller at [email protected].

PLIGYour Name: Shideh Taleban

Your Job Title: Community Librarian at the North Vancouver City Library

How long have you been in this role?

Since January 2018. But I have been an on-call librarian since 2016.

Describe your job in three sentences or less:

As the community Librarian, my main responsibilities are to build and maintain relationships with community partners, provide outreach and community-led services and plan cultural events. I’m also responsible for ESL programs, and manage selection, ordering, cataloging and weeding of our Persian collection.

What do you do on a typical day?

What I enjoy most about my job is that I don’t have a typical day! My work days include a variety of responsibilities and experiences such as doing outreach, activities at my desk and in the library where I prepare various programs, meeting with colleagues or community partners, working at the information desk or working on the Persian collection. As such, it is necessary to be flexible and adapt to a combination of various activities throughout the day. For example, I may have work days filled with meetings from 9am-4:30 pm, entire days of outreach events from 8:30-4 pm, or a combination of various activities throughout one day.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

Besides working with a wonderful group of people, the favorite part of my job is getting ready for and riding our Book Bike – “Spokes ‘N’ Words” –  to different community events and sharing the joy of its services with our community members. Seeing their reactions and comments each time makes my day. Once at a staff ride-training session, we had to wait at the side of the street so a father could bring his 6-year-old daughter, who had heard about us, to see the actual Book Bike. Her reaction was inspiring and hilarious both at once. Working with community members to plan and deliver programs is equally enjoyable. Our Library Small Grant programs are the true definition of community-led services and I really enjoy getting to know and work with our community members.

If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?

I feel that I am new in my position, am still learning, and still enjoying the variety of activities. However, I would like to have more time to identify and build relationships with communities that are currently underserved.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about your job?

I believe the amount of time and work required to plan and deliver programs and outreach services would surprise others if they were to hear about it. Identifying communities that need outreach services takes a great amount of time and energy. Obstacles of delivering a community-led program is a hidden component of program delivery that people might not immediately think about. They might also be surprised to hear that excellent time management skills are vital and essential for people who work in this position.

If you weren’t in the library profession, what would your fantasy job be?

Honestly, I can’t imagine doing anything other than being a librarian! I love and respect our profession wholeheartedly and my personal narrative for how long and hard I worked to get to this point would be very telling. However, if I was forced to choose another job, I would enjoy both event planning and social work.